Charnel House

A unique building of its kind in the Palatinate

The charnel house, constructed at the end of the 15th century was located at the western part of this wall. From the High Middle Ages, remains found during the digging of new graves were no longer being buried in a corner of the cemetery. Instead, they were collected, “presented and made open to the public for worshipping.” So, the charnel house developed into a place for prayer. In the Age of Enlightenment (2nd half of the 18th century), however, this idea also changed in Catholic areas. The local priest considered the charnel house to be a useless place where rotten bones that might even cause illnesses were stored. In order to put it to a more proper use, the building was converted into a storeroom and lumberyard and it was used in this way for almost 180 years. In 1860, it went into the possession of the town, which didn’t change the building’s use. It was only in 1945 that the Town Council decided to give the old and neglected charnel house to the Catholic Church Foundation. However, the final renovation of the charnel house was not finished until 1962 – 1965. Today, the building serves as a memorial for the fallen of both World Wars. On the altar there is a book, displaying all the names of fallen and missing inhabitants from Deidesheim. You can still see a few remains of the old rood screen, which had been demolished in 1708, as well as a stone cross from the 15th century, a High Gothic tracery crown and 3 gravestones from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Being a unique building of its kind, the charnel house is of a particular importance for the Palatinate.

 

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